Nine Years Ago Today

On the 23rd of March, 2012, I moved away from London for good, and arrived in Norfolk.

My wife Julie was already here. Having had to start a job locally, she had moved up on the 31st of December, 2011.

That week in March is one I will never forget. I had my retirement party on the 12th, my mum died on the 14th, and I was 60 years old on the 16th.

For the first months I lived here, I felt as if I was on holiday. Julie was still working full-time then, so I was alone during the day, in a totally unfamiliar place. The quiet of Beetley really got to me then. In a good way, making me relish the move away from the noise and bustle of Central London. But there was still a part of me that wondered if I would ever feel at home in this Norfolk village. I felt out of place even walking up to the post-box.

Getting Ollie saved the day. Having a dog to walk meant that I encountered many other people. Very soon, there was a regular group of walkers, all enjoying the antics of our dogs playing together.

However, I still found it hard to shake the feeling of being rather ‘lost’. So I became a volunteer at the local school, teaching cycling road safety. Then I took on a second voluntary job, working for the Fire and Rescue Service as a home safety officer; fitting smoke alarms, and giving talks and presentations to various groups around the county.

During this time, my friend Antony suggested I start writing a blog, which I began in the summer of 2012.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

79 thoughts on “Nine Years Ago Today

  1. What a week to go through Pete. You must have felt marooned out on an island but now you’re constantly thought of as Beetley Pete. I think it says something of you with your voluntary activities when you retired. Are still doing the cycling safety and fire alarm checks or does Ollie take up too much of your time? Or maybe your adoring fans. πŸ˜‰ I’m very glad you took up blogging and look forward to your ten year anniversary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lloyd. I gave up the Cycling and Fire Service stuff after two years, as they wanted me to be more or less full time for no pay. Then I became a volunteer guide at Dereham Windmill one day a week. I had to give that up after just over a year, when I developed vertigo, and it wasn’t safe for me at the top of the windmill. I still see kids I taught to ride cycles safely, though now they are mostly learning to drive cars.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely reflection! I really enjoyed the read. Thank goodness for Ollie at that time. A move is a very emotional experience, and of course lonely. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You write great. I always enjoy reading you.

    My remembrance date is October 17, 2016. The first day in the childrenΒ΄s fall break here i peaceful Denmark.

    Well, at 4.50 a.m. in the morning, the police told me on the phone that my beautiful 31 year old classic car was burned to ashes, stolen by some joyriders and left as if nothing worth to anybody.

    It generated 5 things, of which I prefer to remember only the day when then rear number plate and the original keys get to be hung on the wall in my home, 5 years after on October 17, 2021.

    WeΒ΄ll burn the police rapport in a garden bonfire, raise our spirits and move on.

    The four other things included me being in a very bad mood for a very long time, a hospital stay, my first steps as a modern witch, and my adventure as a blogger.

    Today, my remembrance day is to be April 1, 2021. The day I begin writing a life-dream of a trilogy, a psychological thriller.

    Keep up the good writing, the day is a bit brighter after a reading here.

    Best wishes

    Henriette Pedersen, Denmark.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Peggy. I am glad Ollie came to live with us. Two of his siblings were later given away by their owners. That would never happen to Ollie, not as long as I am still breathing.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Entering a new phase of life, whether school, jobs, relationships, etc. Usually unsettling at first as change alway is…perhaps so many people don’t take on a new challenge because of a fear of not succeeding – or liking the new life, job, whatever – but you never know until you try it, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had always intended to move away from London once I retired. But arriving here and knowing I couldn’t go back felt weird at first. Now I don’t want to go back. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. (1) Didn’t you also serve as a tour guide for an old tower that was home to bats?
    (2) Upon your arrival in the village, were you interviewed by a reporter from The Beetley Buzz? If so, did the article make first page news?
    (3) Overheard:
    Pete Johnson: “See that house? That’s the place where I live.”
    Lee McBeet: “And you feel out of place even when walking up to the post-box?”
    Pete Johnson: “Yes, because the house and the post-box are in different places.”
    (4) Did you and Julie celebrate your first day together in Beetley with a six-pack of beer and four pepperoni pizzas?
    (5) As a world famous blogger from Beetley, have the village residents proposed that a statue be erected in front of Beetley Village Hall?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, my windmill guide days came to an end when I developed vertigo. Nice cross-referencing with other blog posts, David. πŸ™‚
      I am hoping for that statue, but not holding my breath for any active fundraising. Though I’m sure I have raised the worldwide profile of Beetley by at least 5,000%!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. We moved to Suffolk 30 years ago, and it took me a good year to get used to the slower pace of life and also the accent. When my neighbour told me he was goin’ to ‘ospital for his tu-uth, I thought he said he was going to have his toe off. I commiserated until he looked puzzled and pointed to his tooth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have encountered a few very strong Norfolk accents, but none I couldn’t really understand. The ‘real’ local people seem to be unaware that my accent is from London. Most of them have never been there. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My youngest son, then aged 5, asked me how to spell his school dinner lady’s name. It turned out her name was Joan, but he’d picked up the local pronunciation of Jo-enn. He always speaks with a London accent though and never picked up the local one apart from that one name.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. It was a total change of life, but a great new beginning, it seems. Perhaps we all have a few lives in us. We all enjoy having you here and learning about life in Beetley. Take care, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did that for a couple of years, and also volunteered as a guide at The Windmill later. But they start to ask for too much involvement, and it begins to feel like being an unpaid employee. Since I gave up the volunteering, I feel less stressed about having to do it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

            1. With Julie being so much younger, I doubt we will have to move. If I die before her, I suspect she will move closer to her children in Attleborough. If I outlive her, I will probably move into Dereham so I don’t need to rely on a car. x

              Liked by 2 people

              1. As the only driver it all hinges on me and my health – or the health of the car! We are very aware that we are a long way from any of our children if we needed any support. I know how difficult it was when having to keep an eye on the mother in law.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. My car is 14 years old, Julie’s only six. I can see a time when they will both have to go, and we will have just one smaller car. But that will hit our savings hard when it happens. Julie has three children living in Attleborough, but access to cars is limited to their partners. When she is older, it would make sense for her to live there, as it also has food shops, and there are buses into Norwich.

                  Liked by 3 people

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